The healthiest choice you can make on an airplane? Opt for a canned soda instead of the Earl Grey.
According to a new report from Hunter College’s NYC Food Policy Center, the water tanks on planes may be subject to shoddy maintenance, which could lead to potentially harmful bacteria in the coffee and tea that flight attendants whip up during in-flight beverage service.
The survey that polled 11 airlines — including JetBlue and Delta — about the nutritional value of their in-flight snacks also asked about procedures surrounding the water tanks.
“Planes come in, [and the tanks are] not being emptied and cleaned, because there is no time for that. The water tank is being filled on top [after] each usage. Whatever would be on the bottom stays there and sits there,” Charles Platkin, a professor of nutrition and the executive director of the Food Policy Center, tells The Post.
The standards surrounding drinking water on flights by US-based airlines stem from the EPA’s aircraft drinking water rule, which relies on self-reporting by the industry and requires that water tanks be cleaned only four times per year.
“[The rule] was instituted because there were issues with coliform, which is a broad class of bacteria. I don’t want to freak anybody out, but it’s feces. [In 2004,] the EPA did a test of airlines and found 15 percent of the aircrafts tested positive for coliform,” says Platkin.